Following are some ideas to help you grow your practice by increasing public awareness of massage therapy where you live, through educational presentations and media relations. These activities can help you attract new clients. Many of the activities described can be used to reach different target audiences, such as potential clients and healthcare professionals who might refer prospective clients to you.
Be sure to start planning at least 8 to 12 weeks before an activity, so you are better prepared to make your efforts successful. To be most effective and have more impact, you may want to team up with other AMTA members in your area.
Consider also promoting your event on a professional website and/or through various social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Arrange massage clinics at local tax service centers for stress relief on April 15
- Alert TV morning news shows – play up tax filing angle and encourage them to send a camera and reporter to the center
- Alert local radio stations – invite them to send an on-air personality to the event
- Promote the event via social media, such as Twitter
- May is Arthritis Month – partner with local nursing homes and hospice care facilities
- Schedule a presentation or demonstration for healthcare professionals on massage for arthritis relief
- Give massage discount coupons to seniors
- Send a press release to local newspaper health and seniors reporters about the event
- Work with a local weekly newspaper to write a special article or column about massage and arthritis
- This is the season for weekend athletes and overstressed muscles
- If you’re a sports massage therapist, contact local sports equipment stores – schedule a presentation or massage demonstration
- Alert newspaper health writers about the event (encourage them to write about it and the benefits of sports massage)
- Host free massage therapy discussions or demonstrations at organic grocery stores or vitamin shops
- Contact organizers of local summer fairs, markets and festivals – sponsor a massage demonstration booth
- Provide information about your practice and massage demonstrations at hospital wellness fairs
- National Massage Therapy Awareness Week® is the last week of October
- Support an AMTA chapter event to attract public and media attention to massage and AMTA
- Hold your own activity and use the latest information from AMTA about consumer use of massage
- Massage an on-air (TV/radio) talent. Target morning TV news programs (they often seek out fun ideas)
- Leaf-raking adds up to a lot of sore muscles
- Hold massage clinics at a local hardware store
- Request a speaking engagement with your local Rotary Club to talk about how massage relieves stress, increases employee productivity
- Hold a drawing for a free massage
- Write a brief article about massage for the local Rotary/Lions Club or other organization newsletter
- Contact your local college/university student services center – set up massage therapy clinics during finals
- Alert the student newspaper and local media, and encourage them to come out and talk with students about their massages
- Ask the college radio station to broadcast live from the massage therapy clinic
- Snow shoveling is a good news angle
- Hold massage clinics at a local hardware store
- Alert community newspaper photographers (this is a good photo opportunity)
- Work with hospitals, wellness centers and clinics to educate healthcare professionals and consumers about massage and your practice
How to Get Your Message Across
AMTA provides a wealth of information and materials to support your public awareness and media relations efforts. Look in your New Member or Renewal Kit for AMTA fact sheets and download AMTA fact sheets and press releases from the AMTA website at www.amtamassage.org. The tips below, along with AMTA fact sheets and brochures, give you tools you can use to grow your massage business through presentations and media contacts.
Think "Audience": Customize Messages
Determine 2 to 4 key messages you want to make sure you communicate. Here are recommended key messages:
- AMTA practitioner-members are qualified massage therapists;
- AMTA and its members are the best resources for information about massage; and
- Research is proving the benefits of massage.
Write your key messages on a 3x5 card and keep it with you during your presentation or interview.
Think about why each audience might be interested in massage. Seniors may want to alleviate pain due to arthritis, while executives might want to relieve stress. Tailor your message to the clientele you seek.
Remember to educate reporters and others to whom you speak on the therapeutic benefits of massage and to reinforce your affiliation with AMTA. Explain that AMTA members adhere to the high professional standards set by the organization.
Use AMTA fact sheets and its website as resources.
• Be an Educator
This is your chance to showcase your expertise; it’s unlikely consumers or reporters know your industry. Avoid using jargon or terms that consumers or reporters might not understand.
• Be Quotable
Use plenty of real-life examples to put your story into perspective. ("I had a client who suffered from …")
• Be Prepared
Think in advance about what questions the reporter is likely to ask and know the answers (reporters are trained to uncover the basics: who, what, when, where, why and how). You may even be able to get a list of questions in advance.
• Be in Control
Answer questions as succinctly as possible. It’s okay to tell a reporter you need to call back with information if you can’t answer a particular question. But, don’t forget to call the reporter back; this could be important information that helps shape the story!
Know your audience and tailor your presentation accordingly.
Always outline your speech before presenting it.
Establish your credibility with the audience, including your membership in AMTA, which has a Code of Ethics and standards of practice.
Clearly "map out" the key messages you are addressing (see Think Audience above); audiences will retain only three or four points.
Keep your speech to 20 minutes maximum and leave time for questions.
Don’t forget to bring brochures and other handouts to leave behind – use AMTA fact sheets available from the AMTA website.
Keep track of the names of healthcare and lifestyle reporters in your local media.
Get contact information (address, telephone, fax) for these reporters and producers at your local newspapers and TV stations. Make your own media list.
If you live in a major city, you aren’t the only massage therapist vying for media attention. Don’t overlook community, weekly and ethnic media. They may provide more opportunities.
Send a brief summary about your event (making sure to answer who, what, when, where and why) to the reporters on your list. Media prefer to receive event information two weeks before the event.
After sending/faxing/emailing your story idea, BE SURE TO FOLLOW UP. Call reporters and discuss the event. Explain that AMTA members are qualified massage therapists who know their field.
If a reporter is on "deadline," end the conversation quickly, but find out when you can call back.
Think creatively! If a reporter isn’t interested in covering one event, describe another that may capture his or her attention.